Please vote now for your favorite car rental company

What’s your favorite car rental company?

This week, I’m resuming my Elliott’s List feature by asking you to vote on your the car company you prefer when you travel. Which agency offers the best service and prices and stands behind its products without dinging you for unwanted insurance or damage claims? In other words, which one do you turn to when you need a set of wheels?
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Weekend poll: Do we really need a new tarmac-delay law?

Congress is in the final throes of negotiating the FAA Reauthorization Bill. Part of the proposed law contains several controversial consumer provisions. One of the most debated concerns is whether to make the current Department of Transportation (DOT) regulation that limits an airplane’s time on the runway to a maximum of three-hours a law that can only be changed by Congress.
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Who has the worst fees in the travel industry? Here’s the surprise answer

Will the industry with the worst fees please stand up and take a bow?

You’re looking at the airlines, over in the corner, aren’t you? Granted, they come off as a little shady and they’re constantly making news for some insane new surcharge, like paying extra for confirmed seat assignments or to carry a bag on the plane.

I polled readers of this column – I’ll get to the answers in a moment – but let me offer a clue: It’s not the airlines. They’re bad, but they’re apparently not the worst. They’re not even number two.
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Passengers say they miss luggage-inclusive fares the most

It’s been more than two years since most major airlines “unbundled” their fares and began charging passengers for the first checked bag. And although air travelers are now paying more for their luggage than ever — $2.7 billion last year, compared with just $1.1 billion in 2008 — they are deeply unhappy about it, according to a new poll.

A survey of more than 1,000 travelers by the Consumer Travel Alliance suggests air travelers are more upset about the checked luggage charges than any other airline fee. Asked what they missed the most about air travel, 56 percent said it was the ability to check their first bag without paying extra. Roughly 20 percent said they missed meals, and slightly fewer — 19 percent — missed the ability to make a confirmed seat reservation. About five percent of respondents missed the free pillows and blankets.

“It’s almost impossible for the casual traveler to go without luggage, or even the road warriors who have to stay over several nights,” says Robin Edelston, a frequent traveler from Cos Cob, Conn. “And charging for checked luggage encourages people to cram stuff into the overhead bins when the airlines should be encouraging people to stow it in cargo.”
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Weekend survey: Vote for your least favorite domestic airline

Why do surveys always want your to name the best companies to do business with? What we really want to know is: Who’s the worst?

That’s especially true for our beloved, and obscenely profitable, domestic airlines.

No problem. Here’s a link to the survey.

But beyond naming names, I’d like to know what, exactly, is so bad about your least favorite airline.

Is it the fares? The service? The fees? Something else?

Send me a note or leave a comment. I’ll post the results soon.

Travelers rate TSA as “terrible” in new poll: “They treat us like we are criminals”

Travelers think the TSA is doing a “terrible” job, according to a new survey of this site’s readers.

Asked to rate the agency on how it keeps travelers informed, handles complaints, explains its policies and is prepared, a majority of travelers gave TSA a failing grade. Only in one category — protecting travelers — did a majority of respondents say the government had done a “fair” job.

In some categories, the “terrible” votes outnumbered the other responses by more than 2 to 1. Those included “keeping us informed,” “handling complaints” and “explaining its policies.”

There were 472 respondents to the poll.

The results probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who flies. And given the agency’s decision to begin imposing tougher screening requirements for those who resist its new full-body scanners, it’s difficult to imagine the scores getting any better in the near future.

Your comments reflected that, too.
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Seriously? Poll finds car rental companies have the most surprise fees

I don’t think I would have believed it unless I saw it for myself. I would have guessed that airlines or hotels would be the leading generators of surprise fees. But no — it’s car rental companies.

I conducted this survey last week, as part of a research project on fees and travel. The poll answers were randomized to prevent any bias.
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More than half of air travelers would fly with the flu to avoid a change fee

maskA disturbing new poll says 51 percent of air travelers say they’d rather fly while infected with the flu than pay a $150 airline change fee.

The survey, conducted by, asked travelers if they would fly while they’re sick in order to avoid paying a booking change fee. A total of 2,327 users responded.

Airlines have resisted calls to loosen their highly profitable change-fee requirements in the face of the H1N1 epidemic. They apparently prefer a Band-Aid solution to the problem.
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